How Do I Find the Right Business Partner?

Having a partner presents a complex mix of interpersonal and business issues, and both need to be addressed for it to work.

If your primary interest is having someone to brainstorm with and to help your business move forward, there may be other options besides a partner. A consultant or coach may be able to fill that role. In that case you’d have the benefit of an objective dedicated mind but would still make the final decisions.

Likewise, if additional capital is needed now, there may be alternatives to giving away your hard-earned equity. Debt is usually preferable to equity unless the partner can add significant value to your business. If an equity partner can open a sizable new market, take on critical responsibility or provide access to valuable resources, it may be worth serious consideration.

Base your decision to have a partner on sound logic and reasoning. Be careful of just wanting to dump responsibility on anyone who will agree.

The purpose of the partnership should be clear in your own mind first. Then you’re ready to determine the qualities and assets a potential partner would bring. A partnership is usually a long term arrangement, so think long and hard as to whether or not you’re ready for that level of commitment. [Read more…]

How Can I Fix My Business Partnership?

I’ve found there are lots of people in a long standing business partnership who are not satisfied with the status of the relationship. They may feel stuck, frustrated, angry…or all of these. They know they’ve been silent far too long, but just don’t know what to do.

What can cause such a change in a relationship that started out with high hopes and good feelings?

Here are some of the situations I see most often. Do any of these apply to your partnership?

One partner feels like he’s carrying the bulk of the workload.

This may have happened because there wasn’t an agreement about who would do what. Job roles, responsibilities and accountability have not been discussed.

Expectations are not being met. [Read more…]

Use Strategic Alliances to Grow Your Business

Many of today’s successful businesses are built on strategic alliances — a collaboration of resources for the purpose of gaining an advantage in the marketplace. This is especially true of virtual businesses, which are usually based on a network of people in different locations, with defined roles, in a temporary or evolving organization. In order to grow you need others.

If hiring an employee or contracting for service is not the right solution, a strategic alliance or partnership may be the answer. Engaging a “partner” in the process means you will share risks. Responsibilities and rewards.

Strategic alliances are a great way to create or test new business ideas without a huge expense, but it does require attention and good management to succeed.

Here are the steps I use and recommend following when seeking strategic partners.

Envision the Goals you want to accomplish.

Be as clear as possible. Then ask yourself what it will take to achieve these goals? If you see you can’t do it alone, find the resources you need elsewhere. [Read more…]

7 Tips for a Business Partnership That Works

Business partnerships take on a variety of forms. They may be a long term formal legal commitment or a simple short term venture to test a market concept. The same principles apply in all cases.

Here are 7 tips to make sure the partnership starts strong and stays strong.

1 – Start by creating a shared Vision & Mission

As in any business, it’s critical for the partners to define the Vision and Mission of the venture as the very first step. If all brains aren’t going in the same direction in the same way, problems are bound to arise.

The motives for each partner can be different. The overall objectives and methods, however, need to be the same.

Tom chose to partner with Dominic because each saw the market need for a commercial kitchen facility. Tom was a commercial contractor who had worked on restaurants and catering facilities. Dominic was Manager of a cooking school and well connected within the food preparation industry. Their Vision was a 2,000 sq. ft. facility that would have 3 shifts of production, serve as a test kitchen for the cooking school and contract provider for other long term and project clients.

Tip: Take time to discuss your company’s Vision and Mission with your partners. Look for what energizes and motivates each of you about your business. Give it a purpose and define what the ideal business will look like. Put the joint Vision and Mission in writing and use it as the reference for everything else you do. [Read more…]

Is It Time to Save Your Business?

The economy appears to be doing well. Many small businesses are having a good year so far.

Then there are those that are not doing so well. Their product or service may have proven itself in the marketplace, but problems have developed and things are beginning to feel out of control. If that resonates with you, keep reading. It may be time to save your business – before it’s too late.

I say before “it’s too late” because I feel really bad when I have to tell someone I can’t help them because they’ve waited too long. Sometimes it’s just too late – and there’s nothing left to work with. You don’t want to find yourself in that situation. [Read more…]